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18/09/2020
Paul Nilsen's Women's Basketball Worldwide
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My top 10 signings during the EuroCup Women off-season

NEWCASTLE (Paul Nilsen's Women's Basketball Worldwide) - The 2020-21 EuroCup Women campaign may have been pushed back time-wise due to the pandemic, but clubs have been busy impressing during the off-season with some super signings.

In no particular order, I have picked out a selection of  those that have made me sit up and take notice - so far!

Eva Lisec - La Roche Vendee Basket

 
To be able to get a leading European center who has shown what she can do in EuroLeague Women, and also with the Slovenia national team at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket, is a great boost for a club like Roche Vendee. I think this is a super signing as they try to compete with many clubs who have a bigger budget and stature in France. The great thing from their perspective is that while Lisec might not be a flashy and spectacular kind of player or superstar, she will drop the anchor in the paint and be an absolute rock. They can build their campaign around that impressive and reliable base.

Nika  Baric - Elazig Il Ozel Idare


Yes, a second Slovenian ace! I don't think I would be speaking out of turn to suggest that Baric has arguably lost her way a little because in recent seasons she has not been getting minutes her outstanding talent deserves. Playing for UMMC and winning titles was special, but last season was not great for anybody with Dynamo Kursk. I feel she needs to be the star of a team again and as she looks hungry, she is ready to write a new chapter. Her brilliant creative and scoring ability is just what newcomers Elazig need in their debut season. I look forward to Baric doing at club level, what she has never stopped doing with the national team.

Zala Friskovec - KSC Szekszard

Why not go three Slovenians in a row? I hadn't even connected those dots when making my selections initially, but as I sit and write down my reasons in more detail, it brings home just what a talented group that Slovenia have right now. Of course Friskovec is very much a future leader having recently established herself in the first team behind the more experienced Baric and Teja Oblak. But make no mistake, the future can be just as exciting for the rising star. Moving within Hungary, where she played last year, means the minimum disruption and I think it is a wise move for KSC Szekszard who have got themselves a real baller that I love to watch.

Astou Ndour - Hatay BB

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✍️📷 Astou Ndour Hatay Büyükşehir Belediyespor'da! #HatayWomenBasketball

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Now this made me sit up and take notice in all manner of ways. I was initially shocked that a player of Ndour's stature would sign for Hatay if I am honest. That is in no way an insult to Hatay, I just thought she was a EuroLeague Women lock. But massive credit to the Antalya side for pulling off this major coup and as we have seen in Europe, the WNBA and via her exploits with Spain, the reigning FIBA Women's EuroBasket TISSOT MVP is a colossus who will rack up major numbers in the points and rebounds stat columns!

Cristina Ouvina - Valencia

 
I love this signing for Valencia. They have come a long way in a short period of time, having been in the second tier of Spanish basketball not so long ago. And,  even if they played EuroCup Women last season, the surprise factor will be gone and if you want to now cement your status as a club who can be perennial competitors (as well as challenge for domestic honors in Spain), then experience is key. Ouvina is a hard-nosed player with great attributes and she showed with a standout season in EuroLeague Women with Praha, that she is getting even better with age. Nobody can take liberties with Valencia now that Ouvina is on the floor.

Jacki Gemelos - Kayseri Basketbol

 
Another veteran player, you have to love the longevity of Gemelos and the fact she is playing WNBA this summer is further evidence of what an absolute class act she is. A  momentum shifter and deal breaker so many times, Kayseri are lucky to have a clutch player of her experience and stature. The locals will love seeing her play and I mention those supporters because in my last column about who has the best fans, I failed to mention the people in Kayseri who hold the record for a EuroLeague or EuroCup Women fixture and have shown their passion for many years. I was rightly reminded of this on social media, so my apologies!

Megan Gustafsson - Gorzow

 
When Gustafsson made her debut in 2019-20  in what was her rookie pro season overseas, she shot the ball so well that I was regularly checking the box scores for errors. Not that I don't think she has talent (she does), her shooting accuracy in Budapest with FCSM Csata was just off the chart - insane. The Dallas Wings player should relish her first foray into EuroCup Women this season and Gorzow have picked up someone I believe will do a great job. The forward has a great outlook and so with no question marks over her ability or temperament, the signs point towards this being a great pick up for the Polish club.

Temi Fagbenle - Reyer Venezia

 
A towering presence in the high or low post and effective on defense too, anyone who saw Fagbenle play for Great Britain at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket last summer when she made the All-Star Five will realize why she was always a certain to make this kind of list. It is a super addition for Reyer Venezia and with  full pre-season ahead of her and some rest prior to that, I have to hope as a fellow Brit, that it's going to be 'Temi-Time' regularly and she will post her biggest ever season. 

Marjorie Carpreaux - Castors Braine

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Marjorie en mode préparation 💪👍🏀

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Regular readers of my columns will know I always like to throw in a potential eyebrow raiser or curveball and in this piece, I accept it is Carpreaux. Her exuberant style is not for everybody but why do we all watch sport as neutrals? It is surely to smile and be entertained. With this in mind, there are few other players who can produce entertainment quite like Marjorie, having also done it so many times with the Belgian Cats - including 3x3 as well. I could sit for hours watching mixtapes of her outrageous passing ability and eccentricity on the court. So I think in an Olympic year (fingers crossed) it is a nice fit for both parties that she plays with powerhouse club in her own country like Braine.

Luisa Geiselsoder - Landerneau Bretagne Basket

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Can‘t wait to start the season with @lbb_hn 💥❤️

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I have always been a huge fan of the German ever since I saw her make history at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship several years ago when she was outstanding. Now she is moving out of her homeland for the first time, having no doubt turned down plenty of NCAA offers, I can't wait to see how she does in both EuroCup Women and the LFB. It looks like a great pick up for the new entrants and having been picked in the WNBA draft, Geiselsoder is on the radar more widely now. She has to get up to the level of the likes of Marie Gulich to make inroads with the national team and I think she will have the minutes and opportunities to prove herself at Landerneau - another signing that looks on paper at least, to suit both club and player!

Paul Nilsen

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Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen

As a women's basketball specialist for FIBA and FIBA Europe, Paul Nilsen eats, sleeps and breathes women’s hoops and is incredibly passionate about promoting the women’s game - especially at youth level. In Women’s Basketball Worldwide, Paul scours the globe for the very latest from his beloved women’s basketball family.